In the lead up to this summer’s AIDS2020:Virtual (International AIDS Conference 2020), we initiated the ahead hackathon from July 3rd to July 5th 2020. The goal was to create new, innovative ideas and find solutions to solve the most pressing challenges of the young generation globally. It was a great success. 

More than 350 attendees from 20 countries participated and worked together in groups in order to design their very own project ideas in four different pillars. In the end, as there could only be one winner in each pillar, the groups pitched their ideas to a panel of judges. Five and a half months later, we would like to present each pillar’s winners, their project and what they have been able to achieve, so far. This article is the last in a four part series.

Meet the winners of PILLAR 4: CULTURE & SOCIETY: MICKLE. 

MICKLE is a program aimed at MSM sex workers. With this program, they aim to improve HIV testing, treatment and support as well as access to information on medications. This will be made possible partnering with already existing HIV/AIDS-related organizations that this vulnerable group may not have ready access to. 

MICKLE finds a mixed approach with blended online and in-person execution by collaboration with other organizations that have similar goals. It will also be implementing a phased approach through partner organizations, such as UNAIDS, The Jamaican Ministry of Health and many others. There will be three main waves of the project (December, March and June) in the three main counties in Jamaica in order to achieve all island coverage.

By improving access to testing and sexual health counselling, the project aims to mitigate the discrimination faced by members of the LGBTQIA+ community while accessing health care by increasing the number of training sessions currently offered to health care workers through the existing partnership of Equality JA, the National Family Planning Board and the Ministry of Health and Wellness. To provide access to young members of the LGBTQIA+ community, MICKLE aims to increase online efforts regarding sexual health counselling as well as relevant sexual and reproductive health education material.

After completing the hackathon earlier this year, the MICKLE team began making contacts with stakeholders in the HIV/AIDS and LGBTQ+ communities and have been able to form a wide-ranging network. MICKLE was launched this December.

MICKLE is one of the best projects that were developed at the ahead hackathon. The team’s drive and passion will bring them very far. You’re an inspiration!